LED interlighting produces higher tomato yield for Mastronardi
By Brandi Cowen
After three months growing under horticultural LED interlighting, tomatoes are heavier and yields are higher, reported Mastronardi Produce.
The company began trialing a Philips interlighting system three months ago in its state-of-the-art high-wire tomato production facility in Coldwater, Mich. This is the first greenhouse in North America where LED inter lighting is installed on this scale.
Philips GreenPower LED interlighting modules have been installed in addition to the existing HPS lamps. The bi-directional modules can be applied as an interlight supplement for tall plants in a greenhouse (such as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and roses), encouraging previously shaded leaves to photosynthesize and stimulating the plant’s growth potential and efficiency.
The objective of the LED interlighting trial in Coldwater is to increase the number of kilograms of tomatoes produced per square metre, particular during the winter. Since LEDs generate less heat than high pressure sodium lights, it makes it more easy for Mastronardi to control the climate in the greenhouse. The trial is under way, and the results are being monitored biweekly by a Philips plant specialist and Mastronardi’s grower.
With LED lighting, the growth light – or spectral output – can be tuned. This makes it possible to apply the optimum “light recipe” at every stage of a crop’s growth. This capability, together with effective heat management, long lifetime, high luminous efficiency and energy efficiency, opens up tremendous opportunities for growers and breeders.
For the commercial horticulture market this means increased yield, early flowering, faster (root) growth, and more economical use of space.